I’ve totally gotten back into my cooking groove. Not that I was really ever out of it, but there are days when I don’t much feel like cooking, I don’t want to think about cooking, I don’t even want to think about menus or buying food or any of it. It just gets to be a little much.
I realize I’m extremely fortunate, in that my husband will eat anything. And by anything, I mean anything. With the exception of cinnamon buns, I can make anything that strikes my fancy, and he’ll eat it. He’s even told me he doesn’t like curry, yet I’ve made a fish curry stew as well as a a curried chicken pot pie, and he loved both dishes. I just have to make sure I don’t over-curry him.
Besides, turmeric, what makes curry its distinctive yellow color, stains everything it touches, and I do have a baby who enjoys feeding herself. It’s best not to over-curry anyone in my family.
Boy, is curry delicious, though, and just what the doctor ordered on these cold, snowy days.
I think we got another couple of inches today, which resulted in my asking Kurt to run to the commissary for me. I wasn’t fond of the thought of my driving anywhere in the snow, and besides, I didn’t feel like putting makeup on. You’re lucky I even got dressed. But that meant I actually had to think about what to cook for the rest of the week!
What’s better to cook in the dark days of January than pot roast? So that’s on the schedule, along with this garlic shrimp casserole I stole from my boyfriend Alton Brown (which I will make to spec if I manage to haul myself off to a grocery store to obtain some panko crumbs, or maybe I’ll just use saltines). Sometime this week we’ll also have baked ziti with tomatoes and mozzarella, an amazingly warming and cheesy dish that is simply to die for. Maybe I’ll even make homemade garlic breadsticks… nom nom.
But tonight’s dinner really took the cake. I can’t even remember where I found the recipe, probably off Saveur.com, a website that features information gathered from all over the internet. It’s called Lemon-Balsamic Chicken, and apparently it’s of Indian extraction, though it tastes nothing like most Indian food. It is, however, the most delicious chicken recipe utilizing balsamic vinegar that I have ever, ever had.
Seriously, you need to stop what you are doing and go make this for your next meal. It’s not very adventurous in its tastes since it’s just lemon and balsamic vinegar, but it turns out so amazingly. You could even make it for company! I served it with glazed carrots and roasted zucchini coins, but you could serve it with roasted potatoes — anything to sop up more of the delicious sauce.
Did I mention it’s stupidly easy? Well, I made it just a tiny bit hard on myself, in that the commissary didn’t have a cut-up chicken, so I had Kurt buy a roaster that I cut up myself. All I could think of, whilst cutting up this bird, was the admonition running through my new ethnic cookbook not to swing one’s cleaver wildly. That, and my penchant for cutting myself badly with any sharp implement I handle. Fortunately, the bird was separated into many pieces (I chopped the breasts in half for more even cooking) without any blood loss on my part. Score!
I adjusted the salt and sugar to my own taste. The original recipe calls for double of each.
8 chicken pieces (legs and thighs)
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 lemons, zested, 1 juiced, and the other cut into wedges
2 tsp. kosher salt
2-½ tsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Prick the chicken pieces all over with a fork and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar with half of the lemon zest, salt, and 2 tsp. of the ground pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight. Mix the sugar with the remaining lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter, and place chicken skin-side-down in the pan along with the remaining marinade. Cook until the chicken is browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, and then flip each piece over and cook 1 minute more. Sprinkle some of the lemon sugar and remaining ½ tsp. of ground pepper over the chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is completely cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven. Cut remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter into small pieces and scatter around chicken. Pour lemon juice over everything. Once butter is melted, serve with pan sauce drizzled over the chicken and lemon wedges on the side.
(The recipe is originally posted HERE.)
I cooked mine for 30 minutes to allow for the thicker breast meat, though next time I’ll opt for the regular 25 minutes because the white meat was a wee bit dry. Once the meat was cooked, I took it out of the pan to rest, added the butter, and then reduced the sauce for a few moments. Because of the sugar, the sauce thickened and caramelized and became this amazingly thick, rich, delicious entity that has to be tried to be believed.
Folks, I had seconds on my chicken. And I never have seconds on my protein. Veggies, yes. Protein, hardly ever. Try it! You’ll like it. Promise.
(Profuse apologies to my vegetarian friends. I promise I’ll post a recipe for you soon.)